Sunday, November 23, 2014

Week 1

Week one: completed! (below in a pic-a-day)

It was a good week.

Getting up at 6 a.m. isn't terrible if I go to bed at 10 p.m. I'm sure I will become more lenient with the time once this life style becomes routine.

Having worked in the urology department for a month about 1 year ago, I knew most of the colleagues sitting at the morning meeting. Those that I knew still knew me.

As I said before, our main job is to work on the ward and be involved in the daily work there. And so it was that I spent the whole week on the penthouse ward (we're all the way on the top....which can get fairly annoying with the elevators) except Friday, but I'll get to that.

On the first day, the intern that has been there for the past two months gave the other new intern and I a little tour of the place and told us what our tasks would be. At first, it sounded a lot like the tasks I had two years ago and was afraid I'd sit around with nothing to do during the day and wouldn't learn anything new. (I was almost constantly busy throughout the week. Certainly also due to the fact that I don't like sitting around and will help wherever I can).

Main daily tasks:
-take notes on rounds and keep track of available beds
-draw blood
-do the kidney and bladder ultrasounds
-place peripheral venous catheters
-help compose medical reports
-order labs/imaging/consultations
-writing up prescriptions

Besides those tasks, I help where I can, make sure the doctors are happy and have chocolate on hand for sugar lows.

Being a native English speaker has also come in handy this past week. We had two patients that didn't speak German, which led to me having most of the conversations with them.

I've decided to share my best as well as my worst moment of every week. Everything in between is more or less normal hospital activities and not really worth reporting on.

Best Moment: Friday I was called down to the OR to help in an operation. I worked with two of the attendings. The operation was a kidney removal. The interesting part was that it wasn't a normal kidney. It was a horse shoe kidney. Only about 1 in 500 people have it. Instead of two kidneys, they have a fused "U" shaped kidney. So being able to operate on that isn't common and even less common is removing a tumor from it. I held hooks for most of the time but the cool moment (and the moment the attendings said I would still tell my grandchildren about) was putting my finger between the aorta and the isthmus (connecting part of the two sides)! I don't know if they were being serious that I might never have that opportunity again but hey, I'll take it. I even was allowed to sew together the skin at the end! (a good reward for back breaking hook holding hours on end)

Worst Moment: Whenever I've been out of the hospital setting for a while, I always have to get used to drawing blood and placing lines again. I used to be really good at drawing blood, even on patients that seemed tricky. Placing lines even went smoothly at some point. Practice makes (nearly) perfect. Not having drawn blood or placed lines in a long while, I new I'd have to overcome the feeling of avoiding it. I didn't have a single line to place this week so I know that is still a task I have to overcome and start again most likely this coming week. The blood draws were going really well until Thursday. From the stature of the man, you'd think it wouldn't be a problem. I tried on the left side. No luck. I tried drawing blood from the line already placed on the left side. No luck. I tried drawing blood from the right arm line. No luck. I tried drawing blood from the right arm. No luck. I would've tried until I was successful but I take the patients feelings into consideration and usually get someone ranked higher than me to try the third time. I wanted to ask the doctor I was working with that week but the attending overheard our conversation and said he'd do it. I was already embarrassed to ask my doctor because drawing blood shouldn't be that difficult and it is our task to complete (but again, I put my pride aside in favor for the patient). I was even more embarrassed that the attending now planned on drawing the blood for me. He ended up trying around 7 times and through the lines before he finally got just enough blood from his last try to fill 2 of the 3 tubes we wanted. As sucky as the situation was for the patient (who put on a strong face throughout), I was glad that it wasn't that my blood drawing skills had gone away but rather the patient was just a really hard case.

My worst moment also nicely displays my next point, this department is a great place to work. I have been in other departments were I would not have felt as safe asking for help without getting a bitter response. Everyone, from the doctors (regardless of rank) to the nurses and the OR team, everyone is nice, willing to help and doesn't look down on you but rather approaches you on eye level. I wish all my future departments to be like this. Even if someone has a grumpy moment, it quickly passes and work goes on.

I'm excited to see what this next week brings. I'm setting a little goal for myself to try something new every week if the opportunity presents itself.

Have a great rest of your Sunday and stay healthy!


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